Toyota used to be cool. They offered lightweight, rear-wheel drive cars that was easily tossed, all the way to brutish two door sports car that can crank out serious horsepower, and strike fear in the hearts of “muscle” cars. Toyota also gave these cars amazing names like the Sprinter Trueno and the Corolla Levin, and who could ever forget a name like the Supra.
Today, If you take a stroll through the Toyota dealership, you’d find some truly uninspiring vehicles. In the dealership, you don’t ask how much horsepower that Camry makes. HOW DARE YOU? You ask the nice people, what the warranty program is like and how many dollars you can save in gas in a year. A trip to the Toyota dealership would give your adult self a huge dose of responsibilityporn. We suggest you pick up the Prius brochure, our common-sense throbbed so much that our back ached from the thought of a fatter wallet.
On the off chance you strolled thru the doorway with beaded curtain and into the Scion section, you’d find something a little more strange and kooky. Cars like the xA, xB, or the TC gave you the chance to be your younger weirder self, while maintaining your adult sense of responsibility. However, that chance to hide your sense of responsibility behind a youthful facade has come and gone, as the Scion brand is no longer a thing.
[ads1]This just means that trips to the Toyota dealership won’t be as DULL anymore, because starting this fall, the Scion FR-S that we had fallen so much in love with is becoming the Toyota 86! That’s right, a sports car now sullies the hallowed halls of Toyota responsibility. So while your significant other calculates the interest rates, the payments, and the mileage savings of that RAV4, you can flirt with the idea of chucking a rear-wheel drive sports car around a bend, breaking loose to a small drift, wasting more tire bits than usual.
What’s with the strange name, the Toyota 86? Well when this two door sports car became available in 2012 it was badged as the Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ for the North American markets. The identical twins were born out of a joint partnership and development between Toyota and Subaru. The car was also sold in other markets and badged as the Toyota GT-86.
So for the North American market’s fresh start, Toyota decided to drop the GT moniker and go with the simple Toyota 86. The number 86 itself is an homage to the fifth generation Corolla that has a hardcore following of racers, drifters, and manga enthusiasts.
For its move to Toyota, the 86 sports car adopts more aggressive styling with a larger center intake emphasizing the low, wide stance of the car. The front of the car has a new design with re-configured LED front headlamps and turn signals, and revised bumper. The rear now sports LED tail lamps and a new bumper design. The alloy wheels feature a twisted spoke design and 86 logos have been incorporated into a badge on the front fender, as well as inside the front headlamps.
The interior also features the 86 logo on the new “Grandlux” material used on the instrument panel surround. The same material adds a new, soft feel to the door trim. Drivers also will enjoy new seating material with silver stitching and a sporty steering wheel with integrated audio controls and an 86 logo on the center hub.
Enhanced control and agile performance are achieved through revised shock tuning and a spring rate change. On the manual version of the car, additional performance comes from a gear ratio change and a torque increase to 156 lb.-ft, as well as a five-horsepower increase to 205 hp. Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) helps prevent the car from rolling back on steep hills.
The power bump will be a welcomed change as the Scion FR-S needed a little bit more juice for everyday purposes. And we’re glad to see that much of the driving spirit of the FR-S/BRZ/GT-86 will be left unchanged as we found the performance in the twisties to be desirable. Our true hope with this reintroduction is that perhaps we’ll see more exciting Toyota’s in the future? Maybe something with a little bit of forced induction? We can only dream… Until then we will be covering this car and much more at the 2016 New York International Auto Show.